If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, exceptional historic sites, outdoor adventure and wonderful sandy beaches, you’ll find this and so much more in the beautiful county of Northumberland
Why visit Northumberland?
Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled time with the family, a relaxing escape with your partner or an action-packed activity break with friends, you’ll be spoilt for things to do in Northumberland.
Walkers can enjoy more than 60 miles of coastal path, as well as inland routes such as the Pennine Way, while cyclists can try all kinds of terrain on over 350 miles of cycle routes. If you’re looking for adventure, then Northumberland has much to offer, from rock-climbing and horse riding to kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.
Northumberland is known as the ‘big sky county’ and the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. At the Kielder Observatory you’ll have amazing views of shooting stars, the Milky Way and, perhaps, the Northern Lights.
Short breaks in Northumberland really should include a visit to the county’s stunning coastline. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its miles of beautiful sandy beaches and picturesque coastal villages – such as Alnmouth and Seahouses – are perfect for families.
For nature lovers, a boat trip to the Farne Islands is a must. You’ll see incredible numbers of seabirds during the summer and England’s largest colony of seals. Inland, you can spot ospreys, otters and red squirrels.
Northumberland has an amazingly rich history. Visit the Roman forts at Housesteads and Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Wall, or take a trip along the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for some of the finest historic sites in the country. Northumberland is also home to more castles than any other English county: two splendid examples are those at Bamburgh and Alnwick. Take time to explore Northumberland’s towns, which are full of character and history. A romantic break with your partner could include a stroll around the Elizabethan Walls at Berwick-upon-Tweed, an evening of great entertainment at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham or a special meal in the treetops at the wonderful Alnwick Gardens, where you can dine in one of the world’s largest treehouses.
A brief history
Hadrian’s Wall was completed in about 130AD to defend the northern boundary of Roman Britain against invaders from the north, and many well preserved sections of the wall, along with Roman forts at Housesteads and Vindolanda, can be visited today.
The Normans were responsible for building many castles, including those at Alnwick and Bamburgh, to protect Northumberland from the Scots. The county saw long periods of conflict with Scotland right up until the union of England and Scotland in 1603.
When’s a good time to visit Northumberland?
The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is one of the best places in the country to view the night skies. The nights from autumn until spring are prime viewing times, so if you are planning to enjoy some amazing natural wonders you may wish to schedule your weekend breaks in Northumberland to coincide.
Wildlife fans and birdwatchers can see puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and guillemots on the bustling bird colonies of the Farne Islands and Coquet Island between May and July. Amble also hosts an annual Puffin Festival in May.
The Northumbrian Gathering takes place in Morpeth in April and is a celebration of the culture of the region. It features traditional music, dance and crafts.
Literary fans can enjoy the Hexham Book Festival in May, while music lovers should head for the Corbridge Festival in July and the Lindisfarne Festival in September.
Berwick holds a family seaside festival in August as well as food and drink, film and literary festivals in September and October, while the Alnwick food and beer festivals both take place in September.
By rail: There are regular mainline services from London King’s Cross, which take around three hours and stop at Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed. There are also connecting westbound services.
By bus: National coach services run to Newcastle and many destinations in Northumberland.
By air: The closest airport is Newcastle International Airport.
By car: take the A1 from the south or Scotland, the A69 from the west and the A19 from the Port of Tyne.
Within the county: Once you’ve reached Northumberland, there are excellent bus and rail networks linking many of the county’s key destinations. There are also hundreds of miles of footpaths and cycle routes.
So take a look at our hotels in Northumberland and see the natural beauty and wildlife that this destination has to offer.